What you should and shouldn't be worried about with a session

Getting your photos taken may not seem like the most fun thing for some people. Sure you get photos of memories you can forever cherish, but you may be dreading ACTUALLY getting your photos taken. Trust me; I am in that same boat with you. I feel super awkward and overthink every pose I do. I even am overthinking the exact way my head is placed in the photo to bring out the best angle. Does this happen to you? In this post, I want to give you some advice on common things my clients could be worried about with a session.

The clothes that you pick out

With so many platforms out there, and so many bloggers and what not, there is an ABUNDANCE of information that can help you pick out the perfect outfit for your session. All you need to search is “outfits for ___(Type of session)__ session” in either Google, Bing, or my personal favorite Pinterest.

What your hair and makeup look like

This is about the same as above when it comes to your make up and hair. For guys, this can even apply to you in the hair portion. For a good search would be “natural hair/makeup for photo session.” I honestly like Pinterest because it has a lot of visuals. A great search engine is also Youtube with this section. That way you can get a full visual tutorial.

Your kids are going to act out

This is way more normal than you think that it is. That is what kids do. I still remember when I was growing up and any time a camera came out, I tried to be the center of attention and did whatever I could to get in the spotlight. It’s fine. Bring something with you to distract them or even incentivize them. I will typically suggest something they all love to do, but is SUPER special so that way they know that if they really behave it will work in their favor.

The weather

We all worry about this, including me. As much as I would like to control this, I can’t. Things happen. We do live in Indiana and predictions almost mean nothing now. We can always do our best, but there are always other options. We can reschedule or maybe even plan an indoor session.

Facial expressions and posing

When I step in front of the camera, I end up doing this all the time and overthinking it. The only thing with me, is that I am not coaching myself through everything. I will show you what to do and I am going to give you prompts the whole time to get you to smile naturally and be in the moment. I will tell you exactly what to do. So no fear here.

Pets won’t cooperate

This is one of those things that you really can’t control either. I do believe that you can control them up to a point. In the end, they are just like kids and can have their “moments” and be unpredictable. Just breathe. If they don’t cooperate, we will just try something else. I will position you to work with what they are doing. You can get them to sit, but they are facing the wrong way? That is fine. We can move.

Your family/significant other won’t take it seriously

This is actually something I have worried about before with my own significant other. We hadn’t had ANY professional pictures together and I really wanted some. I can’t tell you how awkward I felt almost the whole time because he was just as awkward. I felt very uncomfortable. This is honestly a very hard thing you have to do. You may just need to talk with anyone you may have a problem with it. Just let them know how important it is to you. Share how you feel and that you would really appreciate if they were on their best behavior. If that does not work, just know I have been in your shoes and it’s not the end of the world. You do your part and I will do the rest.

Worried how you look in person won’t translate into a beautiful picture that you envision

This is in my head CONSTANTLY. I am always envisioning this picture of me and then when I look at it, I am like “ehh.” I wish there was an easier thing to do than just trust me, but you have to. Try not to envision everything and just let me do my job. You might be pleasantly surprised.

What am I missing?

What is something I missed on this list? What are you worried about for your sessions? Comment below your fears or worries and I will add it!

There will always be worries when it comes to your session, but hopefully this will put your mind at ease a little more.

Spring Cleaning - tips & tricks to get it all out

It’s about that time. The time you can open the windows, turn off the heat, and just breathe fresh air. I don’t know about you, but I live for these moments. It’s also that time to start spring cleaning. It’s just something about opening up those windows that just make you want to clean. Am I right?

I still remember growing up and doing our spring cleaning and getting the trash bags out and the boxes that would eventually be moved to the basement. I am pretty sure I might still have some boxes at my parent’s house to be honest (maybe an item on my cleaning list this year).

I wanted to share with you some of the tips I use to get it all out. How to spring clean, if you will. This will help you get it all out, but keep your sanity while doing it.

Tip #1: Make a Storage, Donate and/or Garage Sale and Toss box

This is the lifesaver. I use this tip any time I am doing deep cleaning. I use storage for seasonal items, family heirlooms, things I am not ready to part with, and maybe even some things that I can give to others.

Donate and/or Garage sale box is more for the things that you don’t want anymore but someone else could breathe life into. My family is really big into this almost every other year. I live out in the middle of nowhere so it doesn’t work well for me at my home, but I take my stuff to my parent’s when their neighborhood has their annual garage sale.

The thing you have to realize is that you must use garage sale prices. I can’t tell you how many times people will comment on that to me at my parent’s house. They will always tell me that we are the only ones they see having “real garage sale prices.” You are not looking to make much money off of these things. If you don’t think a resale store would take it, you need to mark it REALLY low.

Now let’s say you do go to a resale store and they don’t take some things. Go to another one and if you think you can get SOMETHING out of it. Put it into storage until you can do a garage sale.

Anything left after the garage sale, donate it. You can also do this anytime of the year if a garage sale is not an option or you just wanted to donate. Look into multiple different places that take this besides just Goodwill. They are great, but there are multiple other places you can look into that just aren’t advertised as much.

Tip #2: As you are moving things around, DUST!!

I cannot tell you how much I gross myself out by seeing things that need dusted when I move things around. I mean, I try to get to it when I am dusting, but some are either hard to reach or you just don’t think about. Like your cabinet drawers or maybe even around some books you NEVER look at (maybe that’s a sign to move the books to storage or donate).

Some places to also look out for that don’t typically get much attention is inside your kitchen cabinets, the “junk drawer,” behind furniture and appliances, and behind anything that sits stationary (desktop computer, phones, decorative baskets, decorations, etc.).

Tip #3: Don’t do too much at once to overwhelm yourself. Do a few rooms at a time.

This one I do all the time. I like to think that somehow it is possible to do the whole house in a weekend. I am very ambitious and it’s not very realistic unless I had a tribe of people helping me. Try a few rooms at a time. That way you can thoroughly go through everything instead of rushing just to get it done. If one room is really big, you can make these into smaller tasks. For example, I do my closet at a different time than the rest of my room because I get too overwhelmed.

I typically start with my room and then work my way down to the main living spaces and then to the basement. I do recommend doing anything with paper documents on a separate day from anything else so that way you can really look into it and come up with a good filing system and see what is super important and what is not.

Tip #4: Don’t buy anything new until you have gone through everything. If you need organizational items, look around your house first before buying something new.

This one is hard for me. I am ALL about the organizational things. I frequent the Office Depot and Target office supply area often. However, you need to look at other things you might already own around the house. I cannot tell you many times I get done cleaning the house and find 5 extra binders, 20,000 file racks, and 1,000,000 storage boxes. So I really don’t need to buy anything else and just use the things that I already have in the house.

Now, if I can go through EVERY room and can’t find anything then I can go make a list to buy things. And yes, make a list. It will help you not get “shiny object” syndrome. That is my problem, I want everything!

Now that you have these tips in place, get ready to organize your house this spring! Let me know if you have any other tips & tricks I can add to this list! Also, send me photos of your hard work after you are done cleaning. I can’t wait to see them all.

Taxes - how to make your life easier when it comes to this time of year

This is probably the most dreaded time of year. Tax time. We all hate doing it because you never really know if you are doing it right or not. I still remember the first time I filed once I had a business and it took ALL day to come up with everything I needed because I was ill equipped. I had no sense of organization and a filing system that it took all day just do to Schedule C. It was awful.

So I wanted to make some tips for you to help you prepare for this time of year.

Tip 1: If it can be listed as a deduction, SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS! (i.e. work uniforms, taking clients out to eat, buying office supplies).

I can’t stress this one enough. If you don’t want a ton of papers lying around, that is fine. I scan them into my computer, or there are plenty of apps you can use to save your receipts. It doesn’t really matter how you save them as long as you do. You can mark these on your taxes and it will help you!

Tip 2: WRITE IT ALL OUT! – spreadsheets

This will save you a TON of time if you write it out while you are thinking about it. I keep a spreadsheet that has every single type of deduction on it, when I take it out, which account/card I take it out on, and where it went (company, etc.). I have included a template of that exact same one for you here!

Tip 3: Keep all your paper and virtual documents in one place

I have a very specific taxes folder saved on my computer. It has each year in separate folders and it has any receipts that I have used by month, the actual tax forms, and anything else I think I may need. This way, I can always find it if need be. Now when it comes to spreadsheets, I keep these in the same place in a Google Drive. It’s under an accounting folder and it has separate folders for each year.

It is very important to keep it this way so that everything is easier to find.

Tip 4: Create templates to use over and over again each year

The template that I showed you above is exactly what I use. I make copies of this every year so that I can use it over and over again. If I make a change to my current one, I will also change it in my template version. This makes it extremely helpful so I don’t have to keep making a new one each year. I have one each year so that way it becomes very easy during tax time.

You can have your own version of my template right here!

Tip 5: If you are unsure of what qualifies as a deduction, when you are doing your taxes for this year, write them out so you can start tracking them for next year

I learned this the hard way. I was not tracking over half of the possible deductions the first year that I was in business. So, I looked up all of the possible deductions and wrote them out on a spreadsheet with each definition so I could easily reference it and know what each category specifically meant. I even color coded it so I would know if my business may actually use this or not.

You can see that in the template I made you.

Tip 6: Use a service

I am one of those people that prefer e-filing. I love using a service especially because I can have the previous year’s information already saved and it’s pretty easy to go through. Plus, they check if there is anything that looks off or has a higher rate of being audited.

I personally use H&R Block just because I am more familiar with them and it is what I have used for a while. TurboTax is also a good recommendation.

Since this is one of the times of year that creates the most headaches for people, help yourself from one by taking some of these steps. Already feel like you have dropped the ball? Don’t quit! Start them now! It will help you create a habit.

Taxes Templates: Google Drive, PDF, Excel

National Self Care Month - Easy Self Care Ideas

With it being National Self Care Month, I wanted to bring to you 5 easy self-care ideas and why I think they are beneficial. 

1. Epson Salt/Essential Oil Bath

This is the typical self-care photo you will see on the internet. It's okay to have that. It means it works. I personally love the lavender scent as it is super calming which helps right before bed. I usually soak for about 15 minutes to help relax me. I even have found some super relaxing "bath time" music on Spotify. My playlist can include: Relax & Unwind, Bath Spa Relaxing Music Zone, and Piano in the Background

2. Read a book

This can be any type of book, just read one you can get into. Whether that be self-help, romance, murder mystery, sci-fi, business, memoir, historical fiction, whatever. Just find a comfy place and start to read. Right now I am reading "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. And if it wasn't for my tired eyes, I would not put it down. 

If you do decide to read on a tablet or a screen rather than hard copy, make sure you are taking into consideration that the light from the technology can keep you up later. It can trick your brain into thinking that it's still the day. However, you can try these glasses called Pixel Eyewear and it helps you get better sleep and less eye strain. 

3. Start a "grateful for" list

This may not seem like self-care, but when you start to do some reflection on what you are grateful for it definitely helps you feel better. Write down each morning (or night) 3 things you are grateful for. This could include literally anything. From your house to your shoes, to your job, even for your alarms! You can write why you are if you want, but it's not required. You can always repeat too. I typically write that I am grateful for my dogs cuddle time with me each and every morning. 

4. Meditate/Yoga

Sometimes you just need to move your body or relax your mind. Yoga always helps when I can tell my body just needs to move, but also a stretch. I always feel really good after a yoga session. My body feels like it can move in ways I never thought I could and it's helping me with physical balance, strength, and flexibility.

Meditating will help your mind be at ease. If you are anything like me, I had no idea where to start out when it came to meditating. I would also just find my mind wondering every few seconds onto something else (i.e. my to do list, errands, chores, what Susie said at work today, etc.). I downloaded this app called Headspace and that has helped so much. I got to choose how often and how long each meditation session was. You are given a video tutorial at the beginning to help you get the most out of your meditation session and set you up for success. Then, you will have a guided meditation for your set amount of time. There is a free trial section, but the parts you pay for are worth it too. 

5. Take a technology detox

This one is probably going to be the most challenging. I go everywhere with my phone as I am sure many of you do too. I am not saying it has to be days, weeks or months, but even just for a few hours. Once I started using my Moment app, I was noticing how much I was on my phone and it literally disgusted me. How could I waste so much time in my life on my phone? Time is so precious and I can't get any of that back. This app not only shows you how much time you are on your phone but how many times you even pick it up to look at your home/lock screen and even which apps you use the most. So if you are listening to podcasts 50% of the time, at least you know you aren't mindlessly scrolling more. Just take even a few hours out of your day. Don't check it during your lunch break. Don't bring it to the bathroom with you (don't judge, I know you all do it, especially at work). Forget it at home for a day. For those who decide to do a day or longer, I am proud and envious of you. 

Easy props you can incorporate into your session

Props can be a tricky subject. I don't have anything against them, but not everyone knows really what they should use or can use in a session. I wanted to create a quick and simple list of items you can easily use in your session.

1. Flowers - I love to use flowers as a prop because they can be whimsical and natural. It doesn't look to forced and it brightens up the photos.
2. Toys - Children are always playing with toys. This won't look unnatural because of that fact. If I get a photo with a toddler and their favorite toy, that will be normal. It's a part of who they are and what they like. It's also super easy because it will make them happy to have that with them while I am taking their photos.
3. Jackets - Jackets are most definitely a prop. You can wear it, swing it over your shoulder, wrap it around your waist, etc. Since it's a part of your wardrobe, it looks natural and no effort is put into it.
4. Blankets - These work really well with couples to wrap each other in. It brings them closer together and it looks really lovey. This trick also works well with children.
5. Announcement pieces - Examples could include: engagement ring, ultrasound photos, baby booties, house keys (first place to live, bought a house), etc. These little things are easy to carry and help make announcement photos clear. You want someone to know you are announcing something very specific and these are key things to do that with.

This is just a small list of things you can use easily in your session without needing a lot of thought behind it.